News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 13, 2013

Indiana DNR chief Carter cleared for Ivy Tech job

Ethics Commission rules there are no conflicts of interest

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A review from the Indiana Ethics Commission has cleared the way for Robert Carter, director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, to seek employment as statewide director of public safety for Ivy Tech Community College.

Carter said Friday that he asked the commission to review his pre-employment change of position. Carter said he is still DNR director and has an interview with Ivy Tech at the end of next week.

“We do a lot of work with Indiana University and Purdue University, but we don’t seem to do much with Ivy Tech,” Carter said of the DNR. “I went to the Ethics Commission to ensure that there are no conflicts. I got a formal advisory and the clearance to proceed.”

Carter, 47, has a long background in law enforcement, first joining the Clay County Sheriff’s Department in 1989 and appointed chief deputy in 1996. He was elected Clay County sheriff in 1998 and re-elected in 2002. In 2005, former Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed Carter as chief law enforcement officer for the DNR and in 2006 appointed him as DNR director.

“Ivy Tech posted a security position that I felt like I was a good fit,” Carter said. “I feel like I have a great chance of getting this job and I do want it. This has been a good ride for me [as DNR director], but I’ve got to look out for my family.”

Carter and his wife have two children, age 16 and 10. “This is a family decision plus it is a new opportunity. I love working for the DNR and love the agency, but it is a cabinet job, which are not meant to last forever. I can’t expect to be here forever. I am ready to get off the treadmill that I have been on,” Carter said.

If selected, he could start in the new Ivy Tech position in early May.

Carter is the state’s 21st director of the Department of Natural Resources. That position pays $105,000.

“The DNR director is the best job in the world. You can’t beat it; it’s the state’s largest playground. I have been blessed beyond measure and it will be tough to leave,” Carter said. “I have worked for two great governors who support conservation. I was very honored and humbled that Gov. Pence chose to retain me in the position and very grateful for that. I felt like that was a great report card.”

Carter said that while Ivy Tech has security officers at every campus, his new role would be as organizer and coordinator of safety and disaster preparedness. He said the focus for security on community college campuses has increased with nationwide incidents of violence at educational institutions. Ivy Tech has more than 200,000 students in Indiana.

As DNR director, Carter has been involved with development of the Wabashiki Fish & Wildlife Area and with a Riverscape committee in Terre Haute. He said he plans to continue his involvement in that committee.

 Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.